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Thursday, June 01, 2006

I'll Have the Good Music, Hold the Politics

I recently read one of the silliest journalistic exercises I have ever seen. In the current issue of National Review, John J. Miller writes about the "50 Greatest Conservative Rock Songs". Some of the selections include "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who, "Taxman" by the Beatles, and "Don't Tread on Me" by Metallica.

And what was his criteria for this list:
What makes a great conservative rock song? The lyrics must convey a conservative idea or sentiment, such as skepticism of government or support for traditional values. And, to be sure, it must be a great rock song.
This makes me want to jump off a cliff hearing such an obtuse description of music. John does add this disclaimer:
In several cases, the musicians are outspoken liberals. Others are notorious libertines. For the purposes of this list, however, we donÂ?t hold any of this against them.
In several cases??? Me thinks the vast majority of musicians on this list would claim to be left of center.

Mixing music and politics is very difficult. The best songwriters and musicians steer away from overtly partisan politics and opt instead for more universal concerns.

Politics have ruined some music for me. I used to be a big fan of David Bazan of Pedro the Lion. That is until I was at one of his shows where he made a jackass of himself by hollering out "F- Bush!". I could care less whether David leans right or left; makes no difference to me. But to inject such a juvenile and shrill political tone into what should have been a great music night ruined him for me.

Conservatives are no better and in fact are usually worse. The worst music I have ever heard in my life has been at pretty much every conservative or Republican event I have ever attended. Just last week, the FairTax rally here in Atlanta featured the dulcet tunes of Banks and Shane.
Banks Burgess and Paul Shane, and their fabulous band have been bringing folks the best in good ole' fashioned fun for over thirty years. Banks & Shane's finger-snappin' high spirited musical renditions range from Folk to Funk, Bluegrass to Blues, Country Rock to Classic Rock, Beach Music to Buffett, time-tested Show Tunes and originals, and have been bringing capacity crowds to their feet since their first performance!
High spirited musical renditions? Time-tested Show Tunes? Yep, kill me now!

Let me offer an alternative to the "50 Greatest Rock Songs". Check out the newest issue of Paste Magazine that highlights the 100 Greatest Living Songwriters. I am biased because I used to be a co-owner of the magazine. But you won't be disappointed with a magazine that focuses on great music in an intelligent manner.
We pride ourselves in being the premier magazine for people who still enjoy discovering new music, prize substance and songcraft over fads and manufactured attitude, and appreciate quality music in whatever genre it might inhabit--indie rock, Triple-A, Americana, folk, blues, jazz, etc.


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